Americans are sour on their healthcare system and neutral on their economic system, but they firmly believe that their individual freedoms outshine those afforded citizens in other modern, industrialized nations, finds Gallup and USA Today in new survey results. Asked how the US compares in a number of areas, 77% of respondents said that America’s individual freedoms are “the best” (32%) or “above average” (45%), while 65% said the same about the quality of life, and 55% about the opportunity for people to get ahead.
Perceptions regarding these top virtues are somewhat constant across age groups, although 18-34-year-olds are more likely to rate the opportunity for people to get ahead as “the best” or “above average” than 35-54-year-olds and those 55 and up (59%, 52%, and 53%, respectively). Favorable attitudes towards the country’s individual freedoms are highest among 35-54-year-olds (80%), and lowest among those 55 and up (73%).
While Americans may view the opportunities to get ahead as above-average, they still hold some skepticism about the continued existence of the American Dream, according to an earlier USA Today/Gallup poll released in June 2012. Results from that poll indicated that just 1 in 2 adults are satisfied with the opportunity for a poor person to get ahead by working hard in this day and age.
Americans are also unsure about their comparative advantage in other areas. In the latest poll, 41% rate the economic system as just “average” when compared to other industrialized nations, although a higher proportion see it as “the best” or “above average” than see it as “the worst” or “below average” (34% vs. 24%). When it comes to the healthcare system, though, a plurality 38% see it as sub-par, with just 29% believing it to be among the best, if not the leader among modern countries.
About the Data: Results for the USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 14-17, 2012, with a random sample of 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.